We are entering the final days of Holy Week as we celebrate Maundy Thursday tonight and remember Jesus’ last supper with the disciples. The online service tonight will include a communion liturgy. Good Friday follows, when we will be remembering Jesus’ crucifixion in light of the crosses that guests of our community ministries bear. Our online service for this year will take us to Oak Table (St. Andrew’s partner) and West Broadway (Westworth’s partner) as we listen to some of their stories.
Easter Sunday takes us into new hope and new life as we celebrate the confirmation of six youth: Ava, Caitlyn, Grace, Kevin, Noella, and Rose. They had concluded their confirmation class in December, 2019, and were preparing for confirmation last Easter until COVID shut us down. Although our church is still closed to the public, we have decided not to wait any further for their confirmation. 1 ½ years is long enough! Following very careful safety protocols, the youth will be present for their confirmation this Easter. They have each been allowed to invite two people. This service will not be open to the public, as our building is still closed, but it will be live-streamed for all to access. We encourage you to watch online in support of these youth. If you would like to send messages of congratulation, you may do so through the church office and we will pass these on to the youth and their families.
In some ways, this lengthy preparation echoes the ancient practice of the church, where candidates once prepared for one entire year, and in some cases two years, for the confirmation of their faith through baptism. If they had already been baptized as infants, they would reaffirm the faith proclaimed in their baptism, which will be the case for each of our 6 youth this Easter Sunday.
There will be an opportunity during the Easter service for all of us to renew our baptismal faith, along with the confirmands, as we recite A New Creed together (the words will be on the screen). This is a time when we are all in need of renewal—a renewal of hope, a renewal of health, and a renewal of vision for the future. Even though it is still difficult for us to plan for the future, we can still draw on the strength of the risen Christ and live into the vision of Isaiah 40:31—”those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
As we move through the shadows of Good Friday into the light of Easter Sunday, may you find the blessing of Christ carrying you in his loving arms.
BECAUSE THERE IS HOPE HERE: LENT 2021 WORSHIP SERVICES
This year’s Lenten services will feature congregational reflections on hope.
HOLY WEEK SERVICES
All of our Holy Week Services will be offered jointly with St. Andrew’s River Heights United Church
April 1 – available from 7:00 p.m. and later
Maundy Thursday pre-recorded at St. Andrew’s. Have communion elements, water, basin and towel ready as you join the service from home.
April 2 – available from 10:30 a.m. and later
Good Friday pre-recorded at Westworth, St. Andrew’s, West Broadway Community Ministry and Oak Table
April 4th – 10:45 a.m. and available later through website
Westworth Easter Service is live-streamed at 10:45 am with 6 youth confirmations, Morna-June Morrow on handbells and soloist Cheryl McNabb Davis.
This Sunday is Easter Sunday.
This week’s Sunday school lesson ‘The Empty Tomb’ has been sent by e-mail, it includes all the age groups from N/K to G5/6, with the activity sheets. If you need a printed copy of the curriculum, please let me know at email@example.com.
The Sunday school teachers will be on Zoom this Sunday from 10.15am-10.30am to chat with you. Our theme this week will be about “Good News’. Then join the online service starting at 10.45am this week with Loraine following Zoom Sunday school . Our Westworth Confirmation class will be confirmed this week.
This week’s bible story is read by Julia and The Lord’s Prayer is read by Danielle. Your Sunday school teachers are on the Westworth Face Book page for you to view, there is also a link in the CE drop down menu on our web site.
The Bible Story is also available here:
Zoom Sunday School Information
Zoom Meeting ID 743 937 1522
Pass Code 042976
There are still a few multifaith calendars for 2021 available for free from the office. They are accompanied by beautiful art work and include the major celebrations for each world religion. Call the office to arrange for pickup.
Every Lent, we invite donations for our special appeals to support our non-profit community agencies and ministry partners. The congregation usually raises around $1600 and the UCW contributes $1800 from their Rummage Sale and Bazaar fundraisers. Because the UCW was unable to hold either due to COVID-related building closures last year, the congregation generously gave $2500, which allowed us to continue supporting most of our partners. This year, the UCW is again unable to contribute because our building remains closed to fundraisers. We are therefore asking the congregation once more to consider giving more than usual so that we can continue supporting our partners, who are more stretched than ever. These are the partners we were able to support last year through Special Appeals:
Prairie to Pine Regional Council Bursary Fund
St. Andrews College
Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre
Centre for Christian Studies
Local Social Justice
West Broadway Community Ministry
1 Just City
L.I.T.E. (local investment towards employment)
Rock Lake United Church Camp
Our Special Appeal donation deadline is Easter Sunday, April 4.
DAILY LENTEN CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER
Rev. Barb Jardine has put together a Lenten series that introduces us to the practice of contemplative prayer. Her introduction, along with her daily 10 min. YouTube videos are designed for beginners who have never tried this form of prayer. These can be found in the link below and on our website home page in the What’s New section. Barb has produced these for her congregation, but she is willing for Westworth to have access to them as a thank you for the inspiration she received from Thriving Churches.
Here is this week’s installments:
- WEST BROADWAY COMMUNITY MINISTRY
The Outreach Team is purchasing meatballs, sauce, buns, fruit and cookies for the staff and volunteers at WBCM to serve the guests at lunchtime on Thursday, March 18. We are grateful to all of you who continue to support this vital ministry. Cheques may be sent to the Westworth office with the memo line indicating “WBCM lunches”.
Thank you for your continuing support for the folks in the West Broadway area. Cheques to Westworth with “WBCM Pantry” on the memo line are gratefully received!
- THE ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGICAL JUSTICE:
- The Outreach Team is pleased to announce that, at the March Westworth Council Meeting, the words “ecological justice” were added to Westworth’s Values Statement. The Statement reads:
“We Reach Out by actively offering our time, talents and resources; advocating for social justice and ecological justice; demonstrating compassion and living our commitment to service in all our relationships.”
“We cannot protect something we do not love, we cannot love what we do not know, and we cannot know what we do not see. And touch. And hear.”
– Richard Louv
One of the prices that humans have paid for living in an increasingly urbanized society is the loss of meaningful contact with our environment. Yes, urban dwellers still live in an environment, but for many, it’s an environment that we rarely spend much time in, or one that we pass through without much thought. Yet nature abound in our backyards, parks and green spaces. This week, the Outreach Team asks you to start your love affair with creation by beginning to learn more about our urban environments. Here’s some resources to inspire you:
- Canadian Wildlife Federation: National Wildlife Week
- Canadian Wildlife Federation: Gardening for Wildlife
- Niakwa Trail Rain Garden Project
- Save Our Seine
- Touch the Earth Lightly
- GUARANTEED LIVABLE INCOME
Lynda T., West Broadway Community Minister, is helping to organize interfaith vigils on April 8 at 12:30 pm at MP offices throughout Manitoba in support of Guaranteed Livable Income for all Canadians. Loraine and Rabbi Kliel Rose will be participating in the vigil at Leah Gazan’s office (892 Sargent Ave.). Please contact Loraine if you would like to join her. The following video from our Moderator and links on the United Church website give more info about a Guaranteed Livable Income:
- FAITHFUL FOOTPRINTS
Last year, the United Church Faithful Footprints granted to Westworth a sum of $30,000 to complete the roof insulation and the window upgrades. Frank W, from the Westworth Property Team, was interviewed by Faithful Footprints. We invite you to hear what he and others had to say about our responsibility to the environment when considering upgrading our properties – (just click on the link below). Westworth is grateful for the support of the National United Church through the Faithful Footprints initiative.
Living your faith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOYRLf8X3Jk
A REQUEST FROM THE WORSHIP TEAM
We are all following the recent changes to the government orders in response to the COVID crisis. We are feeling more hopeful with some minor easing of restrictions and with the vaccine roll out, but worried about the new variants. Throughout the past year we, the Worship Team and staff, have strived to have the “sense of the holy”* present in our online services. Our Technology Team has navigated their way through production and distribution of these services. We are so grateful to everyone involved. We are still quite restricted by government orders and the direction of the United Church, but like all of you, we have hope for the future.
We would love to hear from you!
- Which components of worship best connect you with a sense of the holy?
- Which components get in the way of your time with each other and this time with God?
- If all protocols were in place, would you attend in-person worship?
- Do you have any suggestions during this time of restrictions and moving forward?
If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact, Olwyn Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ministry Team Leader for Worship or our minister, Loraine Mackenzie Shepherd at email@example.com
*idea taken from Lenten Challenge Gospel of Mark by Dr. Charles Anderson, Rev. Dave Anderson, Rev. Richard Bott